In today’s society it’s difficult to live entirely without electricity. We use electricity to power our lights, cookers, fridges, televisions, hairdryers, and heat our homes.
Many things we use electricity for are not essential – for example you may have to do without the hair straighteners when you go self-sufficient, but will you want to light your home by candlelight? Give up your mobile phone?
Of course, you don’t have to give up using electricity entirely. You can make your own, using wind, solar, or hydro power. All of these options can be quite expensive, however they will pay for themselves in the long run with the electricity they generate.
Using Solar Power
If you have the money for the initial cost, it’s well worth investing in solar panels to power your home. You should aim to position them on your roof, preferably in a south-facing position.
You don’t need to live in a particularly sunny area, solar panels react to light, and there is normally enough per day to generate a significant amount of electricity. You may even find that the National Grid pays you regular income for the surplus electricity you generate.
Using Wind Power
A wind turbine is a good option for a home in a windy area, such as on the coastline, or on a large expanse of open land. You can buy mini turbines that fix on to your roof, or larger ones that can be stationed in your garden or paddock. If you have the room (and the money), consider investing in more than one wind turbine, as this will generate more electricity (which will generate more income from the National Grid).
Using Hydro Power
Hydro power is the power of water. If you have a stream or river (of reasonable strength) running through your land you may want to consider fitting a water wheel to generate electricity. As the water turns the wheel it builds up electricity in a similar way to a wind turbine.
A water wheel is relatively easy to install, if you have a handy electrician friend and an old water wheel to hand (try your local reclamation yard), you may be able to fit the system without the need for costly professional installation. However, if you are unsure you should always seek expert advice, especially when handling electricity.
Tips for Going Energy Self-Sufficient
If you want to be completely self-sufficient in electricity, you should consider the following points:
- Simplify your lifestyle. Use fewer electrical items and turn them off at the plug socket when you are not using them.
- Replace every incandescent light bulb in your house with a compact fluorescent one.
- They use much less electricity and you will see tremendous reductions in your electric consumption.
- Invest in a wood-burning stove to cook with and heat your home. This will dramatically reduce your need for electricity. Wood is a renewable resource – if you have enough land you could even grow your own trees and then replenish the stock.
- Insulate your home – by investing in loft and wall insulation you will conserve more heat in your home and prevent it from leaching out of crevices. This will reduce your need to heat your home, which will reduce your need for power.
Being energy self-sufficient isn’t an easy decision, and it will take some getting used to. However, if you have the money, invest in a set of solar panels or a wind turbine, and you will be able to use electricity, safe in the knowledge that it is not polluting the atmosphere.